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Honorary graduates Dame Judi Dench, Sir Paul Nurse and Sir Roderic Lyne were welcomed by journalists and photographers from the national and regional media. They were accompanied by University Chancellor Lord Bragg, who talked to Calendar news about the ceremonies. Dame Judi warned people tempted to follow in her footsteps to ‘get an education’. Fiona May was unable to attend the ceremony – she gave birth to a baby girl Larissa on July 18.

Over 5,500 students graduated from Leeds in July and some of their stories were highlighted in the Yorkshire and regional press. The Yorkshire Evening Post featured former model Cassandra Wheatley who has turned down the catwalk for a career in pharmaceuticals. Non-identical twins Sally and Laura Lawrance both graduated from sports science after attaining identical results.

September 6 was the 75th anniversary of John Logie-Baird’s first recording of a television broadcast, which took place at Leeds. He was one of many exhibitors at the British Association for the Advancement of Science festival held at the University in 1927. Dr Stephen Lax from the institute of communications studies explained to BBC Look North that John Logie-Baird was ahead of his time and that the BBC probably viewed the inventor as a ‘a bit of nuisance – he kept pestering them’.

David Keenan’s research for his masters in the institute for transport studies received extensive coverage in the regional and national press. His examination of the effect of speed cameras on driver behaviour featured in the Yorkshire Evening Post. David explained that cameras can’t replace traffic police: “Cameras are OK for checking speed but cannot pick up drink-driving, drug-driving, road rage, tailgating and so on.” He found that in some instances the presence of cameras may increase accident rates and this caught the attention of the News of the World, the Daily Mail, the Times, and the Sunday Times.

The vines used by Tarzan to swing across the jungle are now so prolific they are posing a threat to the trees they grow on. Dr Oliver Phillips from the school of geography and his team found the growth of liana vines was accelerating but, as outlined in the Independent, ‘they often end up killing trees by breaking branches and blocking out sunlight, causing trees to grow more slowly and consequently absorb less carbon dioxide’. Talking to the Daily Telegraph Dr Phillips explained that: “Lianas guzzle the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide quickly but they don’t store it for very long.” Ironically, the vines may be thriving on industrial carbon dioxide emissions.

Fellow geographer Dr Joseph Holden gained extensive coverage across national, local and specialist press for his work on restoring the water features in Bramham Park; see page 4 for details.

Under the headline ‘Did the earth move for you?’ Dr Roger Clark from earth sciences explained to the Yorkshire Evening Post that last week’s earthquake was ‘very large ... in UK terms’. He was pictured on the front page of the Yorkshire Post examining seismic traces of the earthquake recorded in Leeds. Dr Clark said some people may not have felt the tremors: ‘It would depend on where you were and what you were doing at the time.’

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